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Topic Title: Benefits of 5S in a Warehouse
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Created On: 11/13/2017 12:39 PM
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11/17/2017 10:15 AM
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SandTrap
Evan Vargas



I'd like to get second opinions about the benefits of 5S in a warehouse / distribution environment. When I say 5S, I am referring to the use of visual management to reduce waste within the area. An example from manufacturing would be created a shadow board so that all of the tools for a given work center had a home that was closest to the point of use.

In my particular warehouse environment, the only "tools" to shadow board are related to cleaning tools / materials, pallet jacks, etc. Most of these are non-value added as far as the core operations within the warehouse are concerned. I'd like to justify the time and costs associated with the implementation of 5S. I feel as though I could more easily do this when I was in a manufacturing environment, but I am having trouble seeing the tangible benefits in the warehouse.

Any thoughts?
11/27/2017 12:17 PM
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EricNelson
Eric Nelson



Hi Evan,

I've done some work in similar situations. I've had success in establishing areas of tools needed such as banding material and cleaning supplies. Color code if there are multiple areas of storing these things. Sometimes just giving something an established "home" that is clearly marked can reduce a lot of time spent looking for tools/supplies. Especially when multiple operators use them.
12/01/2017 10:35 AM
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oberkele
Owen Berkeley-Hill



I am not sure applying 5S or limited forms of Visual Management will make much difference in a warehouse: you would be tinkering at the edges with little benefits and a lot of frustration.

I suggest you consider trying to convert the warehouse into a supermarket (or market place). Psychologically, the latter is completely different to the traditional warehouse: like chalk and cheese. But this will be difficult because you will have to do it with an engaged leadership (perhaps including the CEO) who are willing and able to mentor and coach the workforce. Just dabbling with 5S here and some shadow boards there is not Lean and entropy will soon unravel all your good intentions.
12/01/2017 10:35 AM
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114506
Scott Alexander



I think if you look at 5s more generically, you'll see benefits in warehousing.

It is easy to accumulate 'waste (and trash)' anywhere. Sometimes it is hard to find a pallet jack, fork truck, etc. that wasn't returned to its assigned location. Lights go out, equipment gets damaged, etc. Some 'just-in-case' tools don't belong. Others you want available when needed. In our plant, 5s encompasses PM activities. All of these and others can be addressed by putting 5s practices in place.
12/01/2017 10:35 AM
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JEDLeanLeader
Joshua DSpain



Evan, I would encourage you to broaden your view of 5S in the warehouse. I have 10+ years warehouse managing experience and can give you some ideas.

You can use visual management very well in the inbound and outbound staging & loading process. The shipping center is prime for work cell design and 5S. Keeping the merchandise clean, orderly, and aisles clear is a great example of team ownership. Even the product can be arranged so that your most frequent items are closest to your put-away and pulling routes. How are your aisles set up? Does your team travel unnecessarily because of the design of the aisles? What about the flow of information, is there extra travel or waiting time by team members to get needed information?

Your right in that your "tools" are virtually non-existent, but broaden what you are looking at and you will find quite a lot of opportunities.
12/01/2017 10:35 AM
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MarkRosenthal
Mark Rosenthal



Rather than trying to justify solutions like shadow boards, etc, take a look at the actual work flows and identify the problem(s) you are trying to solve.
Do you see people having to look for things?
Do you see confusion about what belongs where?
Do you see people making mistakes that could be avoided if things were more visual?

Apply the 5S tool (or any other tool) as appropriate to solve the problem.

Don't try to force-fit solutions that don't have problems.
12/04/2017 08:28 AM
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GregSmith
Greg Smith



I am interested in the concept of turning my Finished Goods warehouse into a Supermarket. Can you please elaborate?
12/04/2017 08:28 AM
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Robin_Armson
robin armson



As mentioned above think about the process as a whole. For example things that you process most nearest to the doors i.e. least motion / transportation. If there is manual picking are the heavy items at waist height, is the access safe and fast, separated from fork lifts etc.
What measures do you want to improve e.g. time to store, pick and ship? Then you can check that your improvements work and prove the value of your work to the teams and management.
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